Black Forest Trifle gives you all the flavours of a black forest cake in one quick and easy-to-make dessert. It’s just 5 simple ingredients and it feeds a crowd. Rich and chocolatey but light and fluffy, this simple but stunning layered dessert is guaranteed to be a hit with everyone.
Black Forest Trifle – Best Dessert for a Crowd
When I need a delicious dessert for a family gathering or pot-luck, this Black Forest Trifle Recipe is my go-to. It looks so impressive, but it’s super-easy to make, and it feeds up to 20 people. It’s one of my favourite desserts to make for Christmas dinner, Thanksgiving and holiday pot-lucks.
5 Convenient Ingredients
The 5 simple ingredients require little or no preparation, making this a really quick and easy dessert to pull together. It’s a boxed brownie mix (which you do have to bake first, but that’s so easy), packaged chocolate mousse, a tub of Cool Whip, a can of cherry pie filling and a couple of crushed candy bars.
Seriously. What other large dessert could you make so easily? And hello… would it look this gorgeous?
I first tasted this black forest trifle years ago when my aunt served it at a large family function. One bite, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.
In spite of this trifle being rich and chocolatey, the fluffy mousse and Cool Whip keep it from being too heavy or filling.
And like I said, this trifle feeds a crowd.
I either make it in a large trifle bowl or a huge glass salad bowl, and there’s always enough to go around no matter how many people I’m feeding.
If I were to guess, I’d say this dessert could easily feed 20 people.
Ok, we’ll make it in a sec, but first I’ll talk about some substitutions if you can’t get a couple of the ingredients where you live.
Substitute for Skor Bar:
A Skor bar is a thin bar of buttery toffee covered in a layer of chocolate. Heath Bars and Dime Bars are fairly similar and can be used as a substitute for Skor in this recipe.
Substitute for Cool Whip
Cool whip is a processed whipped topping similar to whipped cream, but unlike whipped cream, it holds its form and won’t fall flat over time. Apparently, you can’t get Cool Whip in Australia, but one of my Aussie readers kindly sent me this recipe for homemade Cool Whip. Others have said they make their own own Cool Whip by adding icing sugar (powdered sugar) to real whipped cream.
Ok, on to the recipe!
Ingredients for Black Forest Trifle:
- 1 540 mL can cherry pie filling
- 1 L tub (299g) Cool Whip, thawed (or Homemade Cool Whip)
- 1 boxed brownie mix
- 2 packets chocolate mousse (I use this brand)
- 4 Skor bars (Heath Bars and Dime Bars are fine substitutes).
Prepare your ingredients:
Bake and cool your brownies and loosely chop and crumble them.
Prepare the chocolate mousse according to directions on package.
Crush your Skor bars. I put them in a sandwich bag and smack them several times with the can of pie filling.
Assembling your Black Forest Trifle
In a trifle bowl or large glass salad bowl, layer half of the brownies, mousse, cherries and Cool Whip.
Repeat layers and sprinkle the crushed Skor pieces on top.
Note: The layers don’t really have to be in any particular order, but you do want to finish with the Cool Whip, and Skor pieces.
Yum! Doesn’t it look divine?
It’s quick and easy, and hands-down, one of the best desserts to make for a crowd.
5-Ingredient Black Forest Trifle
- 1 pkg brownie mix
- 1 540 ml can cherry pie filling
- 1 1L tub Cool Whip
- 2 pkgs chocolate mousse
- 4 Skor candy bars
- Bake, cool and crumble your brownies.
- Prepare the chocolate mousse according to directions on package.
- Crush SKOR bars and set aside.
- In a large trifle bowl, layer half of the brownies, mousse, cherries and Cool Whip.
- Repeat layers, and top with crushed Skor pieces.
- Chill until ready to serve.
If you’re a huge fan black forest recipes, be sure to check out these amazing black forest cupcakes from Family Food and Travel!
More desserts to-die-for:
Crazy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Crazy-Good Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
mhhhhhhhhhhh… I’m gonna have to try that out! … yum
Valerie @ Glittering Muffins
You mean mean mean woman! One more dessert I have to try now, dang it! LOL
do you have substitutes for Australia plz …
Sorry, I don’t, Bernadine. I’m in Canada, so I have no idea what products or brands you have there. I would think you should be able to find similar products in your grocery store though. It’s just a brownie mix, mousse/pudding packet, whipped topping, pie filling and a candy bar. I’m thinking those should be fairly standard ingredients in most countries, but again I’m literally half-way around the world from you, so I can’t say for certain. Good luck! Hope you find them. 🙂
Hi there, I have the same problem as Bernadine! I am in the UK and follow you on FB but I often struggle to think of alternatives. My biggest challenge for this yummy looking recipe is I have no clue what Skor bars are! 🙁 Could you maybe describe what they are like please? And is Cool whip a whipped cream type topping? I can manage the rest! 🙂
Hi Pam, I’ve heard from a few readers in the comment thread on my facebook page, that Dime bars are apparently very similar to Skor bars. Heath bars are similar as well, but according to one reader, they are not as yummy as your Dime bars. Skor bars are simply a thin layer of buttery toffee covered with chocolate. If that sounds like a Dime bar, then you’re good to go. 🙂 I haven’t had anyone suggest an alternative to our Cool Whip. Cool whip is a frozen whipped topping that you thaw and then scoop into or onto your dessert recipe. You might be able to use real whipping cream, but I’m not sure it would hold up for long once you take it out of the fridge. Cool Whip holds up quite well (likely because it’s umm… not “real” food, if you know what I mean).
Thanks for that. Sounds much the same as dime bars so I just need to figure out the cool whip now…I’m sure we have some non-foods here too! 😉 If I find anything that could substitute I’ll let you know! 🙂
This looks amazing! I’m in the UK so am looking for substitutes… When u say candy bar, what flavour? And whipped topping – whipped cream?
Tarryn, Dime bars are apparently a good substitute in the UK. I haven’t had any UK readers suggest an alternative to the whipped topping. Our Cool Whip is a frozen whipped topping that you thaw before using. Do you have something similar to that where you are?
Found this relatively simple recipe to make your own cool whip substitute! Now I can make your delicious trifle!!
thank u that would b great
was wondering best substitutes to make dairy free:)
I always substitute real whip cream for the cool whip. No chemicals in real whip cream! 🙂
Cool whip would be Dream Topping in UK i think,not whipped cream
A good dairy free substitute for cool whip is nutriwhip. I think that once whipped it would hold up well in a trifle. Great recipes!
To those people from the UK, a good substitute for Dream Whip or Cool Whip is to chill then whip Thickened Cream and add powered sugar to taste.
Well I’m hoping that Skor Bars will be like Mars Bars and the Cool Whip is the same as Dairy Whip. (In a spray can in the dairy section) That’s my suggestion for us Aussies. Just gotta try it. This desert looks amazing!
Skor bars are chocolate covered toffee.
Crushed butter rum candy would work better in Black Forest dessert.
If you prefer the taste of butter rum candy, by all means, go ahead and substitute!
When you say ‘crumble” do you mean small pieces or a little larger?
Here is an early Christmas gift from me to all of you who don’t know what a Skore bar is. I actually make my own, and so here is my recipe
2 c sugar
1 lb. Butter
1 pig chocolate chips (milk chocolate)
Heat butter & sugar in saucepan stirring occasionally until it reaches the hard crack (300°F)
Pour on lightly buttered baking sheet to no more than 1/2″ thick
Sprinkle with chocolate chips. About 5 min after cooling it will spread nicely. At this point I sprinkle with chopped pecans, but for the black Forrest cake recipe, I would not use them. The original Skor bar doesn’t have them. Enjoy everyone ❤
Oh my gosh. Are you kidding me? I think I love you. xoxoxo
Wow! Well, that is quite the compliment, Sadie. I’ve always thought they were the best cookies ever, but I may be a little biased. Haha. I’m thrilled that you feel the same way! Thank you so much for your glowing review!